At some point in November of 2020 my GitHub profile showed the message:
10,170 contributions in the last year
This was the first time I crossed into 5 digits. After peeking the last few years it becomes pretty obvious that working in the same field that you spend hobby time causes an acceleration of values.
I don't really want to discuss the values themselves because they are useless. In 2011 I might have committed an entire project under "wip". Now 1 file may require 3 atomic commits to properly describe why changes were made.
If we examine the animation for the last year so far, it becomes obvious that I don't do much on the weekends anymore. I'd attribute this to having a job and after 40-50 hours of development during the week - its tough to really sit down and spend another batch of time. I basically traded programming weekends while in school to programming week days at a job.
I wrote about why these weekend are on the low side before (link above) and I believe that is the piece that defines dedication.
If you are a soccer player - do you only practice at sanctioned official practice? The real dedicated athletes train outside of practice whether via diet, running or anything that helps.
The same deal applies with programming. You may spend a full week's worth of programming, but I'd venture the dedicated individuals spend a chunk of time outside of work honing skills, working on hobby projects or even balancing another programming gig.
Though lets pivot this discussion. Dedication to me is staying with something even if you take a few breaks and I took quite a break from Apktool. Letting the bug tracker go from 60~ bugs to 250~ in the course of a year.
One might just give up at this point and throw in the towel, but that is not dedication to the cause. Paired with 4 days off work due to Thanksgiving - it was a perfect shot.
I went through all 253 issues and now only have 43 remaining. Tickets were tested (if feasible), duplicates collected, some flat out closed and more importantly being honest with the ticket opener if the ticket wasn't going to be solved.
Lets pivot again - One of the reasons this post came to me was the Hacker News article titled - "Hire people who give a shit". I think the author was looking for the idea of dedication and to really care about a product at a company, but instead it came across quite nasty. Instead suggesting that you should blindly work the amount of hours that a founder might, push overtime and give a shit. In reality, if your employer gives a shit about you - a good employee should give a shit about the company.
I think this is where dedication comes in. You'll need to be dedicated to your field, dedicated to not put shit out the door. Dedicated to improved. Dedicated to improve/learn. The instant you start just working for a paycheck and losing that dedication means you quickly find yourself wondering what happened to a field you liked.